Monday, December 7, 2009
New Super Mario Bros Wii: Impressions
I dont have too many deep thoughts (by Jack Handey) about this game - this isnt a game that makes you think - it just makes you want to keep playing. It doesnt ponder the vagaries of the modern human condition; its essential narrative is that of two brothers who eat mushrooms by the fistful and cavort around a magical fantasy kingdom. It has none of the technological advances of a modern game. The gameplay is all on a strictly 2D plane, there is no real voiceover work, no real cutscenes to speak of, no advanced animation technology, no 1080P, or 720P for that matter, no online play, no online leaderboards, etc etc etc.
But despite all this, NSMBW is not just one of the very best games to come out in 2009, its one of the best platforming games in history - a true sequel to Super Mario World with a feel thats like a hybrid of SMB and SMB3 on LSD. Its easily the most challenging Mario game ever made, surpassing SMB: The Lost Levels for level complexity and overall game length. The difficulty ramps up perfectly: it doesnt get too hectic until around World 7, and then its on like Donkey Kong. The addition of local multiplayer is simply brilliant: with two players many of the stages become more difficult to navigate, while you will be able to access special areas not available in single player, and the boss fights become a breeze. The controls and graphics are perfect, theres not too much to say about them other than that.
For gamers who yearn for the days of yore, when games were 2D and hard as hell, this game is like a minor miracle. I really thought that we might never see a new 2D Mario game on a Nintendo console again in my lifetime. But now I see that I was all wrong. It just took a decade or so of experimenting and finally mastering 3D game design before the higher ups at Nintendo realized that there is a lot of merit to 2D game design as well. Gamers have responded in kind, as of this writing NSMBW is on its way to becoming one of the best selling Nintendo titles of all time. Unlike some of the other waggle-ware that has plagued the system since its launch, NSMBW is a title truly deserving of all the success it gets.